Written by Adriaan van den Berg
Welcome to this new year, 2021 here with me and Exit! May all our readers have a happy, successful, satisfactory year ahead of you. This year, one of the ways you can live and express your LGBTG consciousness and identity, stay up to date with LGBTG issues, connect and network with the LGBTG community and inform and empower yourself is by
reading Exit and by recommending it to others. Giving someone that simple tip “Hey, check out Exit online on your phone” will foster reading within the LGBTG community with all its attendant benefits of fostering a sense of community, of informing, empowering and expanding awareness becoming available to our people.
From our side, we are dedicated to offering our readers a worthwhile, inspiring reading experience. We are set for 2021 and this column will strive to do likewise, but On This Queer Day aspires to also be of particular benefit to you besides – let me tell you how… In short, On This Queer Day will treat LGBTG history as a resource and attempt to open up and avail that resource to you by presenting events from LGBTG history to you in an inspiring manner. More exactly, every month On This Queer Day will look at that month in LGBTG history and for every day of that month, it will list something that had occurred on that day in the past from LGBTG history.
The column will offer easy and entertaining reading. And since its listings of historical events will introduce you to LGBTG figureheads, activists, authors, artists and their works as well as to other noteworthy people from history (including the shits who have wronged us), it will also offer you an easy way of acquainting yourself with LGBTG history and of
improving your general knowledge. I will attempt to list events of interest and significance to readers as LGBTG people, events that are thought-provoking, that prompt you to think about it and about LGBTG history at large, about how far we have come since and perhaps about one’s own life as an LGBTG person. I resolve to include more personal commentary on my listings than in the past, more commentary that provides perspective on the historical events listed.
Something that will also make On This Queer Day exceptional will be the listing of LGBTG people who are recognised as “Saints of Antinous” by the Temple of Antinous (see their website at www.antinopolis.org for their world-famous fascinating lists of LGBTG people who are Saints of Antinous) – these are all people awarded Sainthoods for their exceptional lives as LGBTG people, for their contributions to the LGBTG legacy and for their suffering for the LGBTG cause. And so the column will likewise announce special events and dates commemorated in the Antinoan faith of the Gay God Antinous, but it will also list all religious holidays for every given month for all other faiths. And so, finally, one can say that On This Queer Day promises to be an exercise in LGBTG awareness, in LGBTG culture and in LGBTG spirituality.
So, without further ado, here is our first month, the month of January in LGBTG history…
1 st of January 1533 – I’d like to begin this month’s daily listings with one speaking of the passion and potency of gay love: namely a short dedication from a letter that Michelangelo had written on this day to his beloved, Tommaso de Cavalieri, in which Michelangelo completely devoted himself and his life to de Cavalieri by stating he does so “(from) the present and (for) the time to come that remain to me” – effectively promising “I will love you till the end of my days.”
1 st of January 1892 – Also on this date, the famous Ellis Island emigration facility opened in New York harbour. It would process 20 million new arrivals to America until its closure in 1954. It is worthwhile asking and contemplating just how many of those emigrants were gay and lesbian or transgender people? In reply, it has been alleged that as many as one million of them were perhaps LGBTG people – which is lower than 10% since most of those admitted were families. One should likewise wonder and ask how many emigrants came to the United States in total throughout its history because they were gay, lesbian or transgender people seeking greater freedom for their kind?
2 nd of January, 1929 – This day and date was the birthday of Charles Beaumont (d. Feb. 21, 1967), an American author whose gay short story “Black Country” came to be much spoken about upon its publication in the magazine and which thus contributed towards making Playboy’s reputation. In the story, heterosexuals are the minority and are wrongly persecuted,
bringing home the realisation that persecution of homosexuals as a minority must therefore also be wrong.
3 rd of January, 1948 – Doctor Alfred Kinsey published his groundbreaking report “Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male” on this date. In it he alleged that up to 10% of all males are homosexual for at least three consecutive years. The study’s methodology is not up to today’s standards, but it was first in addressing taboo subjects such as masturbation and same-sex sexual behaviour. It remains a landmark in the study of sex and sexuality.
4 th of January, 1750 – Bruno Lenoir and Jean Diot were caught having sex in public, were arrested, condemned and executed a year later, sparking general surprise at the severity of their sentence and making them the last two men to be executed in France for consensual sodomy on this day. LGBTG history reveals that a substantial number of men were executed for this supposed crime in the dark days of the past.
5 th of January, 1931 – Alvin Ailey (d. Dec. 1, 1989), a gay African-American choreographer and founder of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre was born on this day. He is credited with popularizing modern dance and with revolutionizing African-American participation in 20 th -century concert dance. He lived for the dance. He was not outspokenly gay, but his
personal life left no doubts. His personal life was also deeply troubled at times and he died of HIV/AIDS.
6 th of January, 1412 – Joan of Arc is born on this day (d. 30 May 1431) in Domremy, France. We have no evidence of her sexual orientation, but Joan dressed in men’s clothes and was masculine in her gender expression and is regarded as a Saint available to LGBTG Christian worshippers. LGBTG people have always had a soft spot for Saint Joan who is also a Saint of Antinous.
7 th of January, 2015 – One of our best and finest responses to discrimination and rejection is to excel at what we do, to rise up, to become stellar figures, so to speak. Mandu Bai Kinna (born in 1980) was rejected by his own family for being transgender. He rose up. On this day he became the elected mayor of Raigarh in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
8 th of January, 2011 – Our service to others has long been a distinguishing aspect of LGBTG people. On this day a mass shooting took place in Arizona in the USA in which Republican Gabrielle Giffords was injured. Giffords’ openly gay intern, Daniel Hernandez helped save her life and then contacted and comforted her husband.
9 th of January, 1959 – Linda Villarosa was born on this day. She is a famous back lesbian American author and an editor. In the early 1990s, while being a senior editor at Essence Magazine, she wrote an article titled Coming Out with the help of her mother about what it felt like to be a lesbian and what it was like to have a lesbian daughter. She was also co-author of the book ”Body & Soul: The Black Woman’s Guide to Physical Health and Emotional Wellbeing” and her novel “Passing for Black” (2008) was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. She lives in New York with her partner and children.
10 th of January, 1980 – Formation of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a gay male “religious order” whose motto is “Give Up the Guilt” took place on this date. Members dress up as nuns and use camp street theatre incorporating drag and religious imagery to promote safe sex and to satirise issues of sexuality, gender and morality. Gay humour – one of the surest, most effective weapons in the arsenal with which we LGBTG people are conquering the world.
11 th of January, 1757 – His young male favourite and the worldly older man – a tradition you can read about throughout history in Linda Ray Larson’s “The Cupbearers – The Male Favourite in Antiquity” which includes such illustrious couples as David and Johnathan, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, Antinous and his lover the Roman Emperor Hadrian… And you may add no less than American President George Washington and his “boy” Alexander Hamilton to the list. Hamilton was born on this day (d. 12 July 1804), was probably at least bisexual and counted amongst the young compatriots whom Washington called his family. Hamilton also exchanged love letters with fellow revolutionary John Laurens (28 Oct. 1754 – 27 Aug.,
1782), who was an American soldier and a statesman from South Carolina during the American Revolutionary War best known for his criticism of slavery and his attempts to enlist slaves to fight for their freedom as U.S. soldiers.
12 th of January, 1597 – A gay martyr to remember today who was born on this date: Flemish sculptor Francois Duqeusnoy (d. 12 July 1654), who worked as a Baroque sculptor in Rome and some of whose most famous works depicted strong, muscled and athletic male figures in the Hellenic tradition. In 1654 he went to Ghent for several commissions when he was
accused of indecencies with his assistants, convicted of sodomy and sentenced to death. He was tied to a stake in the city’s Grain Market and strangled and then burned. His reputation was destroyed, his legacy suppressed.
13 th of January, 1983 – It is often the pettiness of discrimination that is most striking. And dogged pettiness was the case when a lesbian couple, Dr Zandra Rolon and Deborah Johnson, was refused service when they attempted to sit and dine in the romantic dining section of the top Los Angeles restaurant, Papa Choux on this date. They were told that city ordinances prohibited such seating, which was patently not true. They sued the restaurant and won. Papa Choux, however, rather than welcoming gay and lesbian couples, closed their romantic dining area with a statement that “True romantic dining died on this date.” No, distasteful and unsavoury homophobia died one more ignominious death, Papa Choux. And on to not just petty but outright threatening discrimination… elsewhere, in Nigeria, when on
the 13 th of January, 2014, President Goodluck Johnathan of Nigeria signed the Jail the Gays law punishing LGBTG with up to fourteen years in prison.
14 th of January, 1925 – On this date, Saint of Antinous, Japanese author and poet Yukio Mishima was born. He is also remembered as the swank filmmaker to whose dinner table everyone wanted an invitation (Mishima designed his own cutlery). Mishima romanticized Japan’s Samurai past and advocated rearmament of the Japanese military forces after the Second World War. On 25 November 1970, Mishima with a handful of followers (he had a fighting force of gay men), went to military headquarters in Tokyo to address some officers. Mishima tried to convince them of his opinions, but the officers insulted him. Feeling dishonoured, Mishima took a general hostage and then, feeling his position hopeless, he performed Suphuku or ritual disembowelment after which one of his lieutenants stepped forward to behead him. Perhaps Mishima’s best-known work is the novel “Confessions of a Mask.”
15 January, 1815 – Mourners rioted on this day after clergy refuse to allow the body of lesbian actress Antoinette Saucerotte known as Mlle Raucourt into the church of St. Roch. Saucerotte had endured considerable criticism for her lesbian relationships including with opera singer Sophie Arnould. The contempt and disrespect shown to LGBTG people even followed them in death. We have forgiven a lot, we should never forget.
16 January, 1981 – The first conference in the Eastern USA for Black Lesbians opened in New York on this date – it is called “Becoming Visible: Survival for Black Lesbians” and followed the first Becoming Visible conference on the West coast in Oct 1980. American writer, filmmaker, teacher and political activist Susan Sontag was also born on this day in
1933 (d. 28 Dec. 2004). She was well known for her writing and activism for Aids causes and human rights.
January 17 th, 1971 – A slim little book by author Mirle Miller (b. 17 May 1919, d. 10 June 1986) titled “On Being Different: What it means to be a homosexual” became the so-called “Bible of gay liberation.” It was based on an essay by that title published on this day in which Miller came out as gay. The book remains a classic of LGBTG literature.
January 18 th , 1977 – On this day former beauty queen Anita Bryant launched a nationwide campaign against gay and lesbian rights. Bryant became one of the most vocal and visible anti-gay and anti-lesbian crusaders ever – the figurehead of an anti-gay crusade that floundered when Anita admitted she had second thoughts about her initial anti-gay stance.
January 19 th , 1921 – The lesbian author of “The Talented Mister Ripley” (made into a film starring Matt Damon), Patricia Highsmith (d. 4 Feb. 1995) was born on this day. Highsmith’s book “The Price of Salt” is credited for being the first lesbian novel with a happy ending.
January 20 th, 1979 – Gloria Gaynor’s gay anthem “I Will Survive” began its 17-week climb up Billboard’s Top 40 on this day. And on this date in 1993, American singer-songwriter and activist Melissa Etheredge came out as a lesbian at the Triangle Ball celebrating President’s Bill Clinton’s inauguration.
January 21 st, 1966 – Time magazine published an article on this date titled “The Homosexual in America” which included statements such as “Homosexuality is a pathetic little second-rate substitute for reality, a pitiable flight from life… it deserves no encouragement… no pretence that it is anything but a pernicious sickness.” It was a demonstration of the depth of the social and psychological onslaught endured by homosexual men in the past.
January 22 nd, 1788 – George Gordon, Lord Byron (d. 19 April 1824), was born on this day. He was an English nobleman, a famous poet, a peer and a politician and a traveller. As a poet, he was one of the leading lights of the Romantic movement and is regarded as one of the greatest British poets. Byron was bisexual and his sexual appetite was well known. His memoir “My Life and Adventure” was considered so scandalous that it was burned. His most enduring relationship was with the 2nd Earle of Clare, John FitzGibbon. Byron is A Saint of Antinous.
January 23 rd 1974 – An alliance of gay groups’ lobbying for the inclusion of sexual orientation and LGBTG rights in a provincial human rights charter in Quebec, Canada resulted in the first appearance of representatives of Canada’s gay movement in front of a legislative body, when the Quebec alliance of gay groups appeared on this day in front of the Justice Committee of Quebec’s National Assembly.
January 24 th, 2011 – On this day, the fortnight to publication of the “National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010 Summary Report,” many social scientists and activists were holding their breath in anticipation of whether the report would reveal greater rates of intimate partner violence for sexual minorities. The next day, on the 25 th, the report revealed that the rates for sexual minorities were about the same as those of heterosexuals.
January 25 th, 1800 – The Commonwealth of Virginia reduced the penalty for free peoples for committing buggery from one to ten years in prison on this day, but it retained the death penalty for slaves found guilty of the same offence. British playwright, novelist and short-story writer Somerset Maugham (d. 16 December 1965) was also born on this day in 1874. He was twenty-one years old when Oscar Wilde was put on trial, an event which deeply scared him and caused him to become inhibited, though Maugham became exclusively homosexual later in life.
January 26 th, 1958 – Comedian and lesbian Ellen Degeneres is born, she became the first star of a television sitcom to come out. On this day in 2011, founding member of Sexual Minorities in Uganda and regarded as the father of the gay movement in Uganda, David Kato Kisule (b. 1964), was murdered shortly after winning a lawsuit against a magazine which had published his photograph with a call for him to be executed.
January 27 th 2006 – The United Nations General Assembly created International Holocaust Remembrance Day on this day – it includes the gay and lesbian men and women killed by the Nazis for remembrance on this day.
January 28 th, 1873 – The great French Writer Gabrielle Sidonie Colette was born on this day (d. 3 Aug. 1954). Famous for her bisexual relationships, Colette’s best-known novella is “Gigi” (1944). Decades earlier, on this day in 1935, Iceland became the first country to legalize abortion.
January 29 th 1960 – Famous American Olympic diver and gay activist Greg Louganis was born on this day. Also on this day in 2007, Israel registered its first same-sex couple as married. On this 29 th day of January in the year AD 131 a new star appeared in the constellation of Aquila – it was believed by Emperor Hadrian and his astrologers that is signified the rise to becoming a god of his beloved Antinous. Hadrian had had the constellation of Antinous drawn up and followers of the Gay God Antinous till this day follow the star of Antinous which is believed to be a supernova.
January 30 th , 1948 – Mahatma Gandhi (b. 2 Oct. 1869) was assassinated on this date. His relevance to LGBTG history lies in the fact that he served as a primary inspiration to many of the LGBTG activists of the 1960s and 1970s while many still ascribe to his method of non-violence resistance.
January 31 st, 2017 – Righting past wrongs: On this day Royal Assent is given to the Alan Turing law which posthumously pardons men who had been convicted of sexual offences such as same-sex activities in the past. Turing himself committed suicide after being found guilty of gross indecency and sentenced to be chemically castrated – he gave the world the computer. Alan Turing is one of those cases of an LGBTG person contributing greatly to this world, but who was not only persecuted but destroyed by it, who heterosexual people deserve to hear of. Do not forget Alan Turing. He is also a Saint of Antinous.
Religious Holidays for January 2021 – Interfaith Calendar:
1 st of January, 2021 –
– Baptism of Jesus – Christian
– Mary Mother of God Feast Day – Catholic Christian
– Feast Day of St. Basil – Orthodox Christian
– Shogatsu/ Ghantan-Sai (new Years) – Shinto
5 th of January, 2021 –
– Twelfth Night – Christian
– Guru Gobindh Singh Birthday – Sikh
6 th of January, 2021 –
– Epiphany – Christian
– Feast of the Epiphany (Theophany) – Orthodox Christian
– Dios de los Reyes (Three Kings Day) – Christian
7 th of January, 2021 –
– Feast of the Nativity – Orthodox Christian
13 th of January, 2021 –
– Maghi – Sikh
17 th of January, 2021 –
– Blessing of the Animals – Hispanic Catholic Christian
19 th of January, 2021 –
– Timkat – Ethiopian Christian
January 23 rd , 2021
– Remembrance Day for Those Martyred by the Christians in Antinopolis – Antinoan Faith of the Gay God Antinous
January 24 th , 2021
– The Birth of Roman Emperor Hadrian, Founder of the Religion of the Gay God Antinous – Antinoan Faith of the Gay God Antinous
25 th of January, 2021 –
– Conversion of St. Paul – Christian
28 th of January, 2012 –
– Tu B’Shvat – Jewish
Join me again next month for February’s On This Queer Day. As we say in the faith of the
Gay God Antinous: Ave Antinoe.